It must be about time for people to be considering their summer holidays and I bet at least some of you are thinking about a Spanish (Castilian) speaking country. Because of my renowned language skills pals often (well maybe two or three in the last fifty years) ask me if I can provide a few key phrases to help them get by.
My advice is to not worry about phrases in the first place but to spend hours going over the pronunciation pages at the beginning of the phrase book. If you can read and pronounce the word Córdoba when you say it to the chap behind the desk at a railway station you will get your tickets without too much difficulty, if its bocadillo in the bar then your sandwich will soon be with you.
I went to get some fags today. I slipped a little and pronounced the cigar brand Dux as ducks, the man looked quizzical, I said it properly the second time, more like doooks and the fags were mine. Spaniards are nowhere near as tolerant of mispronunciation as English speakers. I'm told it's because they are speakers rather then writers but for whatever reason time spent on those vowel and consonant sounds will pay dividends on your holiday. ¡hasta luego!